11/18/10

Field Changes at Thomson Reuters – Response from TR's Chris Cartrett

As many of you probably know by now, there was a shake-up at the Thomson Reuters Legal (West) Library Relations Team where about half of the team was laid off. The changes at TR Legal went well beyond this specific team, but since many of us personally know some of the team, it was this transition that immediately caught our attention. When something similar happened back in January, Anne Ellis sent me an email explaining the decision and what the plans were going forward. I asked Anne yesterday to let me know about this round of layoffs, and she asked Chris Cartrell, Vice President for Sales and Account Management, to respond to my question. Below is Chris' email and I am now sharing that with you.



Hey Greg,
I hope you are well. Anne forwarded your information request on to me. I am sorry that I could not respond yesterday but we were still communicating with individuals that had job changes. I hope you can appreciate our need to communicate with each individual before responding in a public forum.

I believe your specific question was related to our Library Relations team. We made some changes within our sales and account management organization this week which will help us better respond to the changing marketplace. And as you noted, the librarian relations program was not immune to the changes. We did create several new opportunities and positions, but there were also some positions eliminated. Library Relation Managers are a core part of how we service our clients – as are our reference attorneys, research specialists, account managers and sales executives. We have had to adjust our customer-facing roles to address the core changes the legal marketplace has seen in the past several years, while looking broadly at our work with customers to make sure we are providing excellent service and training as efficiently as possible. We remain deeply committed to fostering the library community through innovation, service, product excellence and corporate citizenship. To that extent, all of the recent changes in our service approach are intended to meet the changing needs of librarians.

The changes we made this week are centered in two areas: 
1) We have to utilize all of our resources to service our clients, and 
2) we must do a better job of servicing the growing branch offices of our clients. 
This week’s changes aligned our resources across the company to give us greater coverage to more firms and more librarians. Specifically, we have increased our dedicated coverage to branch offices six-fold. Our librarians have consistently requested that we assist them with more in-house training, e-learning, on-demand virtual support options, and greater support of branch offices. The moves we have taken this week help us achieve these goals.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any other questions. Obviously, these are difficult decisions, but we do feel that these changes allow us the best opportunity to service you better. We are working closely with employees affected by these decisions to help them transition to their next role, either with Thomson Reuters or outside the business.

(Please feel free to post this entire email via your blog.)

Thank you,
Chris

Chris CartrettVice President, Sales and Account Management
Large and Medium Law Firms
Thomson Reuters



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18 comments:

Anonymous said...

How does dropping coverage in the South and West expand coverage? That explained nothing.

Anonymous said...

This answer tells me nothing, except that Chris does not have enough fortitude to be honest with his law librarian customers. To be honest, I am more disappointed by Chris' answer than I am the lay-offs! If anything, the answer shows a certain degree of contempt for law librarians and their profession.

Anonymous said...

Unless I missed something, Chris never explains how laying off LRMs advances either of the goals he lists.

Anonymous said...

With only one LRM person West of the Mississippi River, I'm wondering why they just don't get the darn thing over with and just kill off the LRM for good and be done with it. Why let it bleed to death by slowly getting rid of everyone involved? Just put it out of its misery if they don't think it has any value any more.

Anonymous said...

This really seems like another ploy to bi-pass the gatekeepers and go more for direct marketing to our attorneys. Way to go big business!

Anonymous said...

I agree, There seems to be a big push lately by both Lexis and Westlaw to bi-pass the librarians and try to get to the Attorney's to pedal products. Downsizing the LRM program seems to be evidence of that.

Anonymous said...

Having librarians who believe in and champion your services within the firm is so overrated. Really, it is doubleplusgood.

Anonymous said...

Let's hope this batch of LRM's has an easier time finding new jobs than the laid off LEXIS LRC's...3 of the 5 are still unemployed 6 months after their elimination...

Anonymous said...

I am more than a little suprised that neither Anne Ellis nor Chris Cartrell have responded to the criticisms on this site. Clearly, they do not care what their law librarian customers think. Apparently, the non-statement from Mr. Cartrell is the end of the discussion. As previously mentioned, it shows a level of contempt (or dismissiveness) directed towards the profession!

Anonymous said...

Why are we paying so much to a company which is then laying off the very people who support their products?!

Anonymous said...

The good news is Westlaw sales folks are so annoying that upper management will refer them to the librarian (me), just to make them go away. In my firm, when Westlaw calls, eyes roll.

Anonymous said...

West has not cared about librarians for years. They used to contact members of the librarian community for focus groups all the time. Now they are calling paralegals and new associates -- because who cares what librarians think, after all we are probably the only ones who've had user interface classes and use a wide variety of databases on a daily (if not hourly) basis. Firing the library reps doesn't surprise me at all. They'd rather we didn't exist, we ask too many difficult questions about pricing, support, and interface issues.

Anonymous said...

I don't get it.

"we have increased our dedicated coverage to branch offices six-fold"

This branch of an AmLaw 100 firm has not had a dedicated Westlaw trainer for years.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a smoke screen to me. He's not explaining why changing the LRM arrangement and in particular "riffing" Mark Schwartz helps with their goal of more training in branch offices. I smell a rat!

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with the anonymous post about how annoying the Westlaw sales folks are - they are by far the worst that I have had to deal with. Attorneys who have been forced to deal with them have said that they have found the sales folks to be "abrasive" and "dishonest", among other things. I am very sorry to hear that they are laying off more LRMs. Maybe these folks were simply too "nice" (for lack of a better word at the moment) to be working for West.

Anonymous said...

There's also no mention of the complete elimination of Westlaw Deposition Services. 25 more people were laid off earlier this week.

Anonymous said...

You really cannot fault a business for trying to remain as profitable as possible and you should not take it personally. You can only manage the situation in your firm. Keep up good relations with your Westlaw and TR print reps as well as your national account manager if you have one. You could also proactively remind practice group heads and office heads of the more direct line of selling we are witnessing as of late and reinforce the reasons why the Library should be involved in product evaluation and purchasing decisions (if you have the staffing resources to do so in your library).

Anonymous said...

So laying off employees results in increased coverage? This is a carefully crafted response that says nothing. Why don't you lay off all of them and increase coverage by 10 fold?

Don't pee on my leg and tell me its raining.

 

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